A Long Island, New York school district is facing resounding backlash after a group of middle school teachers reportedly displayed a photo collage with nooses which they captioned “back to school necklaces.” According to NBC News,  the photo was part of a larger display in the classroom, but one section showed the disturbing, racist image that also had the words “ha” and “#yes” on it. The Roosevelt School District, in which the incident occurred, released a statement over the weekend, noting that the Board of Education was aware of the “inappropriate conduct” of an “isolated group of teachers” and that it would be conducting an investigation, as well as taking appropriate action against the teachers at Roosevelt Middle School. The incident came to light on Saturday when Arthur Mackey Jr., a local pastor, posted the images on his Facebook. “The photo collage which includes the highly offensive racist back to school picture with nooses literally hung up in…class with all children of color at Roosevelt Middle School until discovered,” he wrote in the post, naming the teachers who were allegedly involved. “Dolls with nooses around the necks were also distributed to the children of color by these three teachers at Roosevelt Middle School in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. I call on our great leaders of the Roosevelt School Board to fire anyone involved in this racist act against the children of color in the Roosevelt School system,” he added.


Posted by Arthur Mackey on Saturday, February 9, 2019
Mackey, who said he confirmed the incident with other teachers at the school, said that a teacher of color who works at Roosevelt Middle School, who did not want to be identified, shared the photo with him.

“Once that was brought to my attention and I saw the picture, we knew that we had to stand up and inform the public,” Mackey told NBC. “All we’re asking is after a thorough investigation, that whoever is involved in this racist image be fired.”

NBC notes that the middle school’s student body is about 55 percent Latinx and 45 percent Black. Hempstead town Supervisor Laura Gillen called on Sunday for teachers to be held at a higher standard, and also called on the district to “immediately dismiss” those behind the collage.

“A clear message needs to be sent that there is simply no place in our schools and in our society for this type of racist, hateful and insensitive imagery,” Gillen said.